Archive for December, 2004

This was posted on webMethods Advantage today:

webMethods is pleased to announce the availability of webMethods Installer 6.2. The webMethods Installer acts as a software inventory management tool. It lets you install and update webMethods software through a wizard, predefined installation image, or script format for a chosen release or service pack while keeping track of relevant component dependencies.

Customers will notice that all wizard based screens have been rejuvenated with usability improvements, from the initial logon, to the Advanced Options screen, and the Summary screens.

Significant improvements were applied to Component Selection screen, re-positioning component level detail to improve the visibility to the software inventory.

webMethods 6.2 works with all previous versions of the webMethods platform, and includes fixes that allow 6.2 to work with Image Files from all prior releases.

You can learn more about this release by reading the webMethods Platform Installation Guide on the Advantage Bookshelf.

Using this installer version with the correct credentials, you can now download webMethods Portal Version 6.2.

Mark

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This disaster has hit me very hard. The scale of it is already incomprehensible and is certainly to be worse as areas that have not been reached yet report their casualties. My wife and I were just talking last week about planning an anniversary or family vacation to the beaches of Phuket, one of the many, many areas devastated by these killer waves.

I would encourage you to give generously to reputable relief agencies (do your homework, please).

The Command Post blog has a great list of relief funds for you to choose from. The blog TsunamiHelp has a good collection of relief updates.

For those interested in the geology and science of this disaster GlobalSecurity.Org, will be posting updated satellite imagery when it becomes available. A QuickTime animation of the quake and resulting tsunamis prepared by NOAA can be viewed here.

Updated: The US Geological Survey report for this quake can be found here.

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A few weeks back I needed to purchase a cell phone for my soon-to-be-driving teenager. I wrestled briefly with the “we never had cell phones when I was starting to drive” impulse, but ultimately decided that being able to track him down trumped my hardship nostalgia.

I’ve been an AT&T Wireless customer for over 10 years, primarily because of their excellent coverage in the foothills of Colorado where we live. My decision to switch the family to Cingular as soon as their new post-merger plans were available is what brought me to the AT&T Wireless (now Cingular) store in mid-November. That’s when I saw it.

It was the ultimate in impulse buying decisions to walk out of the store with the RAZR V3. It was at least twice as expensive as the phone I really meant to buy for my use, the Motorola V551.

(more…)

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It’s the 19th birthday of my marriage today. To celebrate, my wife and I are heading up to Boulder to see the Boulder Dinner Theater’s production of Cats. Afterward we’ll be staying at the historic Hotel Boulderado.

boulderado.jpg

My wife only knows that we’re going out. It will be interesting to see whether I am able pull off the surprise overnighter without getting into trouble for not letting her pack her own things and for not telling her that someone will be staying with our kids in time for her to clean the house to her satisfaction. Hopefully, if the show is entertaining and the hotel looks as good as its photo, I’ll survive.

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CustomWare’s Nathan Lee has a good post that explores the architecture of webMethods Reverse Invoke here. Scroll down to see details on CustomWare’s latest release of its WmUnit unit testing tool for Integration Server.

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A long-time WM Users member and webMethods expert emailed about my “hedgehog” post saying, in essence, that because the world of Integration required such a diverse set of skills and because technology changes so quickly it would be very difficult for a hedgehog concept or company to survive.

I think this question raises a key distinction about hedgehog concepts in general or, more specifically, about a company or individual finding the one thing that it can be the best in the world at and focusing exclusively on that one thing.

I don’t think a hedgehog concept (one developed over time through a deep understanding of the overlapping of the three circles) requires being blind to the pace of technology change or the need for diverse skill sets. In fact, according to Collins, companies must arrive at their hedgehog concept by balancing faith in their ability to prevail against all odds with confronting the brutal facts of their present reality. He calls this balancing act the Stockdale Paradox after Vietnam veteran and P.O.W. Jim Stockdale.

A company (or individual) who narrowed things down to a simple idea, but refused to confront the brutal facts or who indulged in unfounded optimism would not have found its hedgehog.

I very much enjoy staying on the leading edge of technology and working with a very broad set of tools, applications and approaches. It’s one of the reasons I have spent 12 years in consulting and another 8 years as an IT executive in fast-paced companies. I don’t just tolerate change; I’m addicted to it (at times too much so, but that’s another post).

So as I think about hedgehog concepts for my professional and personal life, my passion for leading edge technology has to be part of the equation. However, I am passionate about a few other things as well and its the overlapping of what I’m good at, what I can do profitably and what I’m passionate about that will ultimately define my “hedgehog”.

So what do you think? How can a company define a hedgehog concept that addresses the fast pace of technological change while requiring diverse areas of expertise?

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Blame it on Graham! No, not some whine about a missing feature in Fabric 2.0. Not some not-yet-easy-to-use part of the product. Blame him for your addition to Snood during your Christmas break.

Mark

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As I near the end of my second year as the owner of a consulting firm specializing in webMethods integration projects, I find myself wondering what I really want to be when I grow up.

My business is going very well and prospects for the future look quite bright. But is it time to add employees, time to diversify into another technology besides webMethods or to narrow my focus even further?

One of the authors who has challenged my thinking in this area is Jim Collins, author of “Good To Great” and “Built To Last”. Collins defines a “Hedgehog Concept” as

“… not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at. The distinction is absolutely critical.”

Collins describes the process of finding your hedgehog concept as exploring three overlapping circles. Circle One represents “What you can be the best in the world at (and, equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world at).” Circle Two represents “What drives your economic engine.” and Circle Three represents “What you are deeply passionate about”.

Next week, I’m having lunch with a former employer and mentor who is a deep thinker and owner of his own strategic consulting company. We’ve kept in touch through the years because he is one of the greatest leaders for whom I have ever worked. I found out today that he’s a big Collins fan and I look forward to chatting about hedgehogs, foxes, overlapping circles and flywheels.

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